The fitness and nutrition industries are poised to take a leadership role in health care. They have all the research that demonstrates their role in achieving optimum health and prevention of sickness and disease. These elements of a healthy lifestyle are being sought after by the public who are trying to decipher between the good and the bad, the real and the snake oil, and they are searching for a trusting voice. If you want your practice to thrive, it is critical that your practice brand itself toward delivering relevant information regarding these important lifestyle components without giving up your chiropractic identity, and that you learn how to work with the fitness industry.
|Phillip and Jackie Mills, M.D., are passionate about the health of the planet.|
When you establish a brand for your practice, consider your overall vision. Do you want to be strictly a pain based practice, insurance based practice, or an office that creates patients that stay with you for life? Do you want a revolving door of relief care and inactive files or do you want to be their doctor primary health care provider? If you are a pain clinic, and you brand yourself that way, no matter how hard you try you will have tremendous difficulty getting patients to understand why they should continue on with their care after they feel better. Your brand will establish your identity and determine the type of patients you attract, as well as your ability to attract supportive companies and organizations who want to co-brand with you.
Co-branding becomes a very powerful and cost effective way to leverage your brand with companies and organizations that can help you grow. We see co-brands everywhere, including FedexKinkos, Delta and American Express, Apple and ATT, and even in your practice. If you use Foot Levelers products, you are co-branding with Foot Levelers and they are doing the same with you to help more patients. You may be doing the same with nutritional products, professional memberships and the chiropractic college you graduated from. Co-branding brings credibility and invites the customers affiliated with your co-brands to be more receptive to your practice.
One of the strongest brands in the fitness industry is Les Mills. Founded in 1968 by Les and Colleen Mills in New Zealand out of their passion for fitness, Les Mills now provides fitness classes in over 12,000 fitness centers around the world, certifies instructors and has become the global group fitness leader. Currently owned and run by Les’ son Phillip and his wife, Jackie Mills, MD, Les Mills exercises more than five million people per week. Phillip and Dr. Jackie, who co-authored the book Fighting Globesity, are passionate about their business and truly care about the health of our planet. The unique focus of Les Mills is that they provide innovative, creative fitness classes and they do this for their co-brands, the gyms that they work with in the United States, Canada, and worldwide. They work together with the owners of these facilities to keep this department on the cutting edge of fitness and fun for their members. It is very common that, when people travel and are looking for a good workout, they go to www.lesmills.com to find a gym with classes that they know they will love. This is the power of the brand and demonstrates the value of their co-brand with the gym, and they maintain their unique focus in every location. The Family Practice and several other companies co-branded with Les Mills on a Stress Less America campaign, that was designed to de-stress America, while also directing lots of people to Les MIlls for a work-out as well as to the chiropractors who participated. It was very successful and landed me on several news programs around the country.
Our expertise in chiropractic relates to the spine and nerve system. We know that we can influence the health of the entire body through the spine and not only provide rapid relief, but we can also provide a lifetime of health through our knowledge about the body, our philosophy, and keeping the spine and nerve system healthy as an important component of a healthy lifestyle. Too many chiropractors, in their attempt to sell the healthy lifestyle, lose their identity, become unclear of their business model, and dilute their brand in the process. This is not necessary and can be solved through the power of co-branding.
I have had the opportunity to work with Gold’s Gyms around the country by speaking at their Gold’s Gym Challenge, their international convention, and being appointed to their Gold’s Gym Fitness Institute. The gym provides the endurance and strength training, while the chiropractors take care of the structure, the spine and nerve system. There are quite a few Gold’s Gyms that have chiropractors working inside their facilities, with the goal of enhancing the Endurance, Strength and Structure, or what I call the ESS principles.
If you want to build a relationship with gyms and the fitness industry, you have to brand yourself in such a way that makes your relationship with them relevant, and you have to consistently provide cutting edge information and content for their members in the area of lifestyle. When you do this, they will more seriously consider working with you.
Being successful working with the fitness industry in your area requires a branding for your practice that is lifestyle oriented and recognizes the need for everyone working together, doing their part to help people live healthier lives.
If your only focus is on making their customers new patients and getting a series of quick hits from them, they will drop you like a hot potato and you will be giving chiropractic a bad name. You will not only ruin the relationship for yourself, but you will ruin the relationship for chiropractors everywhere. If you play your cards right, by providing their clients with great information and by becoming a fantastic referral source to them, you will build a relationship that can last a lifetime and that is also very profitable for your practice. The quality of your relationship will be based on what you are willing to give.
Fitness companies love chiropractic. Associations and companies love working with chiropractors who bring quality lifestyle information to their members or employees. As an example, many of the doctors who co-brand with The 100 Year Lifestyle are finding this to be true. Dr. Peter Huber, in California, capitalized on this co-brand to become a featured speaker for the American Heart Association. Dr. Sonny Gotro, in North Carolina, used this co-brand to implement The 100 Year Lifestyle wellness program in his town, which includes fitness, nutrition, and chiropractic. Chiropractic is such an important element of living a healthy lifestyle and, if you brand yourself this way, fitness companies and leading organizations in your town will seek you out and become great allies in helping you improve the health of your community and give you an important strategic positioning for your practice.
Fitness is going to become a core element of health care reform. The cost of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles is bankrupting our system and the change will happen very rapidly, with you or without you. Chiropractors have been teaching this health and wellness lifestyle for decades. The world is finally listening but, if you do not strategically brand and position your practice properly, this wave will pass you by. If you have already positioned yourself this way and your practice is not thriving, it is important to bring your message up to speed and your delivery system into the present.
Do not allow yourself to be blindsided by how quickly things are changing in the world of health care and in the mind of the consumer. Our culture is going to begin making health a primary value. Be the Lifestyle Leader in your community and blend fitness and chiropractic to keep the people in your town as healthy as possible.
Dr. Eric Plasker is the founder of The Family Practice, a marketing and training company for chiropractors, and the author of the international best selling book, The 100 Year Lifestyle, and the creator of The 100 Year Lifestyle Certification Program. He can be reached at 1-866-532-3327 or [email protected]. For a free audio download to help you build your practice, visit www.thefamilypractice.net